By COLLIN GALLANT on March 14, 2019.
The entry of an “independent conservative” candidate in Brooks-Medicine Hat could make things more interesting, but the UCP’s Michaela Glasgo says she’s the best choice for voters looking to bring about a conservative government, as well as results for the riding.
That is in response to a report this week that a campaign kickoff was being planned by Todd Beasley, whose social media comments regarding Muslims led the party to remove him from its nomination process that Glasgo won last summer.
On Tuesday he said he had more experience and would be able to “speak his mind,” potentially to keep a UCP majority on an ultra-conservative track.
Glasgo said late Tuesday that the two-year-old party was formed with a unified goal of affecting change in government. That is her focus.
“We voted to bring Albertans together toward a common sense goal of getting Alberta back on track,” she stated. “I am committed to a positive campaign focused on issues that matter most to common, everyday Albertans.”
Beasley’s appearance on the ballot this spring could raise some questions for voters, or provide some points of attack for other parties’ candidates.
The party was put on the defensive last summer when party officials stated Beasley’s comments were hateful and his disqualification justified.
The comments stated Islam was “an evil cult” later saying he was responding to terrorist attacks and extremist messages he’d heard.
Other parties called it an example of the UCP drawing in those with fringe ideas and a failure of the party’s vetting process.
Again this week, Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel said the issue gives people more reason to consider his party’s candidate in the riding, Jim Black.
“It shows people that the far right are fighting again,” said Mandel, who visited Medicine Hat on Wednesday. “Jim is a well thought of, practical, community guy.”
Lynn MacWilliam, a Bassano town councillor, is representing the New Democrats. Party officials did not provide comment by press time on Wednesday.
This week Beasley said he considered the controversy over, and that voters should focus on his ability to work and get results for the riding. That, he said, made him a strong candidate and the best choice for conservatives.
Some of his supporters implied the nomination contest resulted in the party favourite winning out.
“Experience matters especially in Brooks-Medicine Hat,” he said in an apparent jab at Glasgo.
“There are only to of us” with a chance of winning, he told the News.
Glasgo, who graduated from the University of Lethbridge in 2016, most recently worked at the constituency office of Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes. She is also active in the federal conservative party association.
“My experience working in the public and, most recently, in the private sector, owning my own business, gives me the job specific work experience to hit the ground running as part of Jason Kenney’s team,” she said.
The United Conservative Party itself was formed after Leader Jason Kenney argued to the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties that vote splitting on the right led to the NDP winning government in 2015.
Beasley said he believes the NDP and other parties will poll so low in the region they have little chance of winning, and therefore are no threat of taking the seat or diminishing the UCP’s chances of forming government.
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